“While taking charge of the calves, sometimes the two brothers played on Their flutes. And sometimes They played with amalaki fruits and bael fruits, just like small children play with balls. Sometimes They danced and made tinkling sounds with Their ankle bells. Sometimes They made Themselves into bulls and cows by covering Themselves with blankets. Thus Krishna and Balarama played.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 11)
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“Listen, I will level with you. Life as an adult is not easy. It is difficult. I am talking about for the responsible adult. Not the person who has reached maturity in terms of years but still relies on others to do everything for them.
“You have those living in the basement of the home of their parents. Perhaps the parents pay for everything. They provide food. They give an allowance. If ever something goes wrong, the adult child starts berating the parents. To call these children spoiled would not do the word justice.
“For the person who has actual responsibilities and takes them seriously, it is one difficulty after another. No one in the home is happy. The people at the office are terrible. The better you are at the job, the more they take advantage of you.
“They have all of these protocols in place to make sure that the business operates according to the compliance standards set for the industry. People on the inside know this is a total joke. If you are working on a software release, for instance, you are supposed to go through the full cycle of testing. A simple change might take two weeks to complete.
“What happens is that the business throws in a boatload of new requirements at the last minute. There isn’t sufficient time to test properly, but that doesn’t stop anyone. You are supposed to just make it work. If something goes wrong, you will have to fix it. No doubt about it.
“Within this context, how is anyone supposed to sit down and read books? How are we supposed to get enlightened from tales and conversations dating thousands of years in the past? Within the bhakti tradition, we are supposed to remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“The advice is to keep your mind on Krishna, who appeared in the Vrindavana farm community. You can remember His childhood pastimes, where He played with His friends. There was the elder brother, Balarama, as well.
“How are we supposed to remember such things? Even if we do remember, what is that going to do for us? Where is the relief from the daily pressures?”
The remembrance can take place at any time. It is not that a person must dedicate an entire day to go through the detailed deskriptions provided in sacred texts like Shrimad Bhagavatam and Vishnu Purana. It is certainly enjoyable, helpful, and worthwhile if such time could be sacrificed. There is nothing ever lost in the bhakti process, which is another reason fear gradually gets removed.
प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते
स्व्-अल्पम् अप्य् अस्य धर्मस्य
त्रायते महतो भयात्
pratyavāyo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya
trāyate mahato bhayāt
“In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.40)
[Krishna-Balarama]Remembering something simple like Krishna and Balarama playing in the fields in Vrindavana can do so much for the consciousness. It can refresh a beleaguered person’s spirits. It can provide some inspiration, to aspire to a level where such remembrance can take place more often.
In addition, hearing of a simple pastime is a way to remember how God is in the topmost position. There is no responsibility for Him. He accomplishes the work of the world without much effort. There is no binding effect to the work. Karma never sticks to Him.
न च मां तानि कर्माणि
असक्तं तेषु कर्मसु
na ca māṁ tāni karmāṇi
asaktaṁ teṣu karmasu
“O Dhananjaya, all this work cannot bind Me. I am ever detached, seated as though neutral.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.9)
He is still kind enough to follow through with work, to give a vivid example of karma. This is for karma under the definition of prescribed duty. Following prescribed work is the way to progress in the human life. Otherwise, we would be like the animals and thus constantly experience gain and loss through the focus on sense gratification.
The years in Vrindavana are particularly important because Krishna does not follow karma in the visible sense. He simply plays. He has many friends around. The fruits from the trees get to participate in the fun. The playing field, kshetra, is beautiful and full of adventure.
Reliving such a pastime is like becoming a kid again. Those years that we long to have again are gone forever. We can never play with our friends again with such reckless abandon. We will never get as excited to throw a ball around or run through an open field.
[Shri Krishna]Except if we remember Krishna doing such things, there is a different kind of enjoyment. It is a transcendental experience, especially if a person understands Krishna’s position as the topmost person, Purushottama. Krishna enjoys the Vrindavana forest, and devotees have the opportunity to enjoy that place with Him.
By this world troubled,
Work responsibility doubled.
Family screaming and yelling,
Miseries beyond telling.
But even when tired at night,
Recalling a brilliant sight.
Krishna and Balarama in Gokula playing,
Image of spiritual world displaying.